Ever wondered what a Director in the hospitality industry does in their everyday role and thinks about the future of the business they’re in? This month, we are presenting to you another person making the IBB Hotel and Cugó Gran Collection dreams become a reality. Meet our Director – Samuel Santos.
Having started his hospitality journey at just 16 years old, as a bellboy, in a holiday hotel, gave Samuel the unconditional love for a profession he has progressed on as the time went by. He has touched upon many roles in the hospitality industry until reaching the position of Director of IBB Hotel and Cugó Gran Collection.
After working as a bellboy during Summer, he moved on to become a receptionist, and while he was studying Business Administration and Management at the University of Seville, he continued working as a reservations and revenue agent and reception manager. He moved on to do a Master’s degree in hotel management, which gave him the opportunity to go to Mexico to work with an internationally renowned hotel chain as an assistant manager. After several positions as assistant manager and manager in independent hotels, as well as in other international chains, he started his adventure in Cugó Gran Menorca as a manager, where he has grown in different positions until reaching the position he is in today.
Managing Cugó Gran Menorca allowed him to understand the brand and the vision of the IBB Hotel Collection President and put him in a great position to become a Cugó Gran Ambassador, managing the quality and sales of both Cugó Gran Menorca and Cugó Gran Macina in Malta, before moving on to become Director of Sales and Quality for the entire IBB Hotel Collection, with hotels in Germany and Poland, and finally getting the privilege of becoming Director of the entire collection.
Going out of the comfort zone
His day to day consists of coordinating and overseeing all the teams, from the hotel managers and their needs, through to the Marketing, Revenue and Sales support team, and working hand in hand with the finance and HR teams, on both short-, medium- and long-term strategy, with people being an absolute priority for the company.
Something that fills me with happiness and enthusiasm is the expansion of the hotel group, which I am fortunate to develop with the unwavering support of the IBB Hotel Collection board and our parent company Von der Heyden Group; these tasks not only motivate me for the development of our hotel portfolio, but also make me discover new destinations, needs, and possible commercial strategies and marketing, and makes me challenge myself continuously, taking me out of my comfort zone.
Describing what makes him happy in his role Samuel said that he loves working with all the teams across Europe – it is an experience that enriches him, both personally and professionally, and he explains how he learns with and from them. And to top it all off, being able to help the teams achieve their goals, which are ultimately his, is something that makes him content.
He goes on to explain how IBB Hotel Collection is a family, and although it sounds like a cliché, it is a reality.
We are a company where people are at the centre, and we try to make their daily life as easy as possible, also focused on the success of our hotels. We firmly believe that if an employee works happily, the result of that work increases exponentially, and success is guaranteed. Listening and understanding what our employees need, makes it easier for us to meet the demands of our guests, and in this way, to succeed in our business.
Work life balance
The Von der Heyden Group and IBB Hotel Collection have enabled telecommuting since before it became popular during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing the company to expand the radius of talent that a city or office location can close, and making it easier for employees to balance their work and career. In fact, currently, all our IBB Hotel Collection support team (more than 20 employees) work remotely and from different cities and/or countries, enriching the company culture.
How has COVID-19 changed the industry?
Of course, the industry also comes with its challenges, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Samuel explains that one of these challenges is the lack of talent willing to work in the hotel world; talent that has fled to other industries since the aforementioned pandemic. With that in mind, one of our most important challenges is to work on short-, medium- and long-term human resources strategies to recover that escaped talent, remembering how magical it is to create experiences for other people; we need both our current and future employees to fall in love with our wonderful industry again, he said.
Samuel also touched upon the change he has seen in the industry since the pandemic. The hospitality industry was one of the most that suffered, with border and hotel closures for months and even years. This has affected the aforementioned at employee level, but also in what guests are looking for once it’s all over, and free to travel again. He firmly believes that the pandemic has brought the hotel industry back to its origins – to look for the authentic and local; travellers want to feel alive and in tune with the environment around them, discover new places, cultures and experiences, and that’s why the philosophy of Cugó Gran Collection is now more appropriate than ever.
Samuel envisions the Cugó Gran Collection landing in new destinations with hotels that will not leave anyone indifferent. He explained that everyone is working very hard to have hotels where experiences can be created, and that are part of the local area where the hotel operates – exciting projects that make us travel to different continents worldwide.
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Outside of work
Even though he might be mistook as being a workaholic, outside of work Samuel loves discovering new destinations, new hotels that inspire him and ideas that fills him with excitement to implement in the different hotels across Europe.
But not just that, to relax and put his mind at ease, he also loves reading and running.